Basmati rice is a long grain, aromatic rice that is popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. It has a nutty flavor and can be cooked in various ways. This blog post will show you how to cook basmati rice on the stove. Let's get started!
Indian curries are fabulous; they are easy to make, but you can make them with various vegetables and spices like classic curry powder, garam masala, or madras curry.
But then the question arises, what to pair curries with? Well, the answer can be found in Indian restaurants; most of the time, they will offer aromatic basmati rice, naan flatbread, or roti.
This is our go-to side dish recipe we use to pair our Indian Eggplant Curry, Cauliflower curry, red lentil curry, or our mushroom tikka masala recipe next to a curried sprouted lentil soup, or a classic green lentil curry; nothing beats freshly steamed basmati rice.
If you are out of basmati rice, you can always make a bowl of Indian-style seasoned cauliflower rice or Jasmin rice, which is usually paired with Thai Curries (red, yellow, or green curries).
- Basmati rice
Optional: seasonings (see suggested spices below).
See the recipe card for quantities.
Cooking super easy basmati rice, following the right technique. This is how to cook basmati rice Indian style.
Soak basmati rice in cold water. Then rinse the rice with abundant water.
Rinse and remove excess starch from the soaked rice using a fine mesh strainer.
Hint: One of the most important things to cooking perfect basmati rice every time is to watch the rice to water ratio: 1:2
Add one cup of rinsed rice and two cups of water to a saucepan, plus salt.
Cover the basmati rice with a lid
Bring to a boil and lightly stir before covering again.
Put the lid back but leave it slightly covered to release some of the steam and prevent it from sticking.
💡 Top tip
how you release the pressure when cooking basmati rice is very important. This applies when using a rice cooker or an instant pot as well.
Let it cook for 15 minutes; then taste for softness and remove the lid.
Let the rice rest for 5 minutes, and then fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
Note: how to cook basmati rice in rice cooker » see the recipe card for instructions.
🧂 Seasoned basmati rice
Wondering how to season basmati rice? The most common basmati rice seasoning spices include cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaf, star anise, and cardamom pods.
You can also add thinly sliced onions to your flavored rice.
All suggested spices should be added with salt before boiling, except for the cumin seeds.
Cumin seeds become deliciously fragrant when lightly toasted in a skillet for a couple of minutes on low heat.
Then add them to the cooked basmati rice and optionally garnish with coriander leaves.
- Basmati rice with peas - add half a cup of frozen peas.
- Veggies - in addition to peas, you can add chopped carrots or sweet corn.
- Basmati rice with lime and cilantro - make it citrusy and herby simply adding the juice of one lime and one tablespoon of cilantro leaves.
- Earthy - make basmati rice with turmeric powder adding ½ teaspoon of this earthy root powder.
- Smoky - another great option is to make basmati rice with saffron. Dilute saffron string in warm water and use it for cooking the basmati rice instead of filtered water.
- Coconutty - replace one cup of water with coconut milk.
- Biryani - use ½ teaspoon of garam masala curry powder.
- Middle-eastern - make basmati rice with raisings (basmati rice pilaf) using dried fruit like currant, dried apricots, and sultanas, and add almonds and cashew nuts. I love this pilaf recipe from Once Upon a Chef.
- Lebanese - we love simply adding ¼ teaspoon of Lebanese 7 spices to the rice while cooking.
Basmati rice is also great for making a simple comfort food dessert or snack, rice pudding.
- Brown basmati rice - instead of basmati white rice, you can use brown rice. When you cook brown basmati rice, it will take longer to cook, so you will also need more water.
You can cook this basmati rice recipe using a:
- saucepan on the stovetop
- rice cooker
- instant pot
Always use a liquid measuring cup to ensure the correct water-to-rice ratio.
How to serve
Serve fluffy basmati with a simple red lentil dal or green lentil curry, or mushroom tikka masala.
Any other Indian eggplant or cauliflower curry is fantastic to pair with this aromatic grain.
If you make basmati rice and have leftovers, you can store it covered in the fridge to prevent it from drying. When ready to use, add a tablespoon of water on top and reheat using a microwave or a saucepan.
You can freeze basmati rice using an airtight container or freezer bag.
Frozen rice will keep for 2-3 months in the freezer.
One of the reasons we love basmati rice is because it is great for meal prep; you can then use it as a side dish with your favorite vegan stew, add it to a poke bowl, or even use it to make your favorite veggie burgers.
You can also use basmati rice in a classic Indian creamy rice pudding or the Ayurvedic cuisine dish called Kitchari, an excellent dish to pair with a cleansing detox diet.
It depends on how much rice you want to eat. A good rule of thumb is to use ½ cup of uncooked rice per adult if eating abundantly. We use one cup of dried basmati rice for three servings as we always eat it with a curry.
One of the most important things to cooking perfect basmati rice every time is to watch the rice to water ratio: 1:2
Perfectly steamed Indian-style Basmati should be:
Soft but not soggy or mushy
Have fluffy and separate grains
have the perfect moisture level
If you try this basmati rice recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
How to Make Basmati Rice on the Stove or Rice cooker
- 1 cup basmati rice organic, use brown for WFPB diet
- 2 cups water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or other Indian seasonings as suggested in post
how to cook basmati rice on stove
- Soak the Rice. Soak basmati rice in cold water.
- Rinse and remove excess starch from the soaked rice using a fine mesh strainer.
- Put the rice into the saucepan. Add one cup of rinsed rice and two cups of water to a saucepan, plus salt. Add 2 cups of water into the saucepan (2 cups of water for every cup of rice). Add ½ teaspoon of salt if you want your Rice slightly salted. Cover with a lid.
- Bring to a boil and lightly stir before covering again.
- Put the lid back but leave it slightly covered to release some of the steam and prevent it from sticking.
- Let it cook for 15 minutes; then taste for softness and remove the lid.
- Fluff. Let the rice rest for 5 minutes, and then fluff the cooked rice with a fork.
Basmati in Rice Cooker
- Rinse the Rice only once (to get rid of the excess starch) and throw the water away.
- Put the rice into the rice basin.
- Add water. Add 2.5 cups of water into the basin (1.25 cups of water for every cup of Rice). Add 1 teaspoon of salt if you want your Rice slightly salted. This is not needed as you will have plenty of flavor with your curry.
- Cover with the lid and place the rice basin into the rice cooker and switch it on. Do not lift the lid nor stir the rice during the cooking time.
- Fluff. When the water is fully evaporated, the rice with be cooked. Fluff with a the rice cooker spatula and serve hot.
🌡️ Food safety
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
Love all the tips you share on cooking my favorite basmati rice. I have pinned this post.
Thank you for posting this. Rice can be a tricky dish to master. I love all the variations you provided. YUM!
Basmati rice is wonderful! This is such a helpful post. What liquid-to-rice ratio would you recommend if I wanted to make this using coconut milk? Thank you!
Hi Beth, just replace one cup of water with one cup of coconut milk. Let us know how it turns out!
Love the simplicity of this side. The cumin and sea salt added at the end make this dish fantastic.
Thanks for your review Mackenie; we are fans of adding toasted cumin seeds on top of the rice. It makes a big difference.
I thought I knew all about cooking basmati rice, but I was wrong! Thanks for this super informative post!!